How to Beat the Dealer at Blackjack


Blackjack is a game of chance and skill, but you can greatly improve your odds by learning optimal strategies, understanding basic blackjack principles, and managing your bankroll effectively. It is also important to understand the rules of each game you play, and to be aware of any limitations that may be placed on your betting options. At DraftKings, we strive to make all these limitations clear to our players so that they can be confident in playing the best possible blackjack hand.

The objective of the game is to beat the dealer. This can be achieved in several ways, but the simplest is to draw a hand value of 21 from your first two cards. A hand value of 21 or higher is considered a natural, and it wins the game, unless the dealer has a natural too, in which case it is a push (equal to the player’s bet amount) or a win for the player if the dealer has a 10 or face card (which is known as “blackjack”).

You should always hit when your starting two cards have a total of 12 to 16 and the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5, or 6; you want to avoid the possibility that both you and the dealer will bust before you have a high enough total to beat them. Similarly, you should stand when your two cards have a total of 17 to 21.

During a blackjack game, the dealer deals each player two cards face up and then reveals their own faced down card. After this, the dealer makes a decision based on their card and yours. They may purchase insurance, surrender their hand, or split a pair of identical cards.

Splitting a blackjack hand is an option whenever your starting two cards are a pair, such as two threes or two nines. When you split, you place a second bet of the same value and turn each card into its own hand. You can then play each hand as you would a normal blackjack hand, hitting until you decide to stay or you bust.

There are many different blackjack strategy systems that can be used, and the ultimate blackjack strategy is usually a combination of several. Some are easier to use than others, and some require more practice or dedication. The most common is the basic strategy chart, which outlines the correct move for each situation in a game of blackjack. You can print the chart and keep it with you at the table, or you can simply consult it as you play.

Another popular strategy is the Martingale System, which requires a player to double their bet after every loss. This can be an effective way to increase your winnings, but it’s important to remember that it can also be a quick way to drain your bankroll. If you lose ten hands in a row, your next bet will need to be more than twice the size of your original one, and this can quickly add up.